Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Julia Farrugia Portelli and Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg visited ongoing works at the Bengħajsa Family Park, where during the first phase of the project, 2,200 indigenous trees were planted, mostly by Infrastructure Malta.
60,000 square metres of open space will be returned to the public in the Bengħajsa Family Park project administered by the Ministry for Tourism through Parks Malta, an entity within the same ministry. In this first phase of the project, Infrastructure Malta was responsible for the planting of indigenous trees.
In the second part of the project, the Ministry for Tourism will create pathways and open spaces in this family park, which will include a camping area. The park will be complete with accessible pathways, garden furniture, sanitary facilities and camping facilities. In the meantime, the trees planted during the first phase will have started maturing and can be enjoyed fully by visitors of this park. The third and final phase will begin after the opening of the park and consists of the conservation of a bunker of World War II times found at this location.
Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Julia Farrugia Portelli recalled plans made under a previous administration to use the site as an extension to the Freeport. Instead this government has chosen to give back the area to be enjoyed as an open space by families in the South of Malta and to also serve as a buffer zone between the Freeport and residential areas in Birżebbuġa.
“Our commitment remains to enhance the quality of living in Birżebbuġa and its surrounding areas. This project is important towards achieving this goal and is another steppingstone in a chain of projects in the locality. Amongst others, there is the parking project and the embellishment of the promenade nearby."
Minister Farrugia Portelli also referenced the government's efforts to reduce the impact brought by the Freeport's operations on Birżebbuġa residents, such as the on-shore power supply which is the first step towards ship-to-shore, among a number of measures and other initiatives to be announced in the coming days.
The minister added that this open space can also be enjoyed by tourists that seek to experience the quieter side of Malta during their holidays in our country.
Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg said, “thanks to Infrastructure Malta, here we are planting over 2,200 indigenous trees and shrubs in what will be a new lung for the South of our country. This is part of a wider commitment to plant thousands of trees in various rural and urban spaces. In just 2019 we planted more than 8,700 trees in 40 different locations and in 2020 we have already planted 4,130 trees and around 3,000 bushes in several different places. We are planning more of this work which goes hand in hand with our commitment to reduce congestion and make more sustainable transport choices towards improved air quality.
He commended the agency Infrastructure Malta for the commitment in Bengħajsa, which includes an irrigation system that will facilitate the maintenance of the same trees, and said that the agency will be taking care of this space until it is open to the public.
“When we do things, it is important to do them holistically and not only consider one part of the picture. The irrigation system is a clear example of a long-term plan – planting trees is good, but we need to keep them alive and healthy too. This type of planning is also clear in the keeping of soil from road projects which is then used in afforestation and landscaping projects. We are committed to improve the quality of our country, and we will continue working for more open spaces. We look ahead to witness more progress in the Malta National Park as well, a bit closer to the Centre and North in Ta' Qali."